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Kim Borger and Team Bath are looking to bounce back (Image: Ben Lumley)

Kim Borger and Team Bath are looking to bounce back (Image: Ben Lumley)

Iwan Thomas set a new benchmark with in the Vitality Netball Superleague predictions competition, and we’ve got six more games to look ahead to in Round 5 this weekend.

It should be said Iwan racked up his 29 points from six games, and something tells us that the competitor in Tamsin Greenway will say her 27 points from five games gives her a better average.

We’re not here for point scoring (well, we kind of are), we’re here for fun and to spread the netball word.

With the quarter point of the season approaching it’s over to the Lucys at QTR Time Podcast for their thoughts on a fascinating looking round of action – follow them on Twitter @QtrTimePod

With Surrey Storm taking a major scalp against Team Bath last weekend, the race for Top 4 has just become even more interesting and we love to see it! 

So many teams have put their hand up to say they are gunning for the trophy. As we approach a quarter of the way through the season already, the middle of the table has more jostling than a Boxing Day sale. 

In 2022 there’s very little room for error in the VNSL. The top teams need to prove themselves week-in, week-out, so buckle up for another big week of action in Round 5. 

Strathclyde Sirens v Loughborough Lightning (Friday, 7.30pm)

Watch live on Sky Sports YouTube channel here

Loughborough will be looking to remain unbeaten and on paper should take this one.

However, we know that Sirens have grit and determination in bucketloads, and with the support of a home crowd we think they will push Lightning all the way.

Hopefully we’ll see the Scottish side back to full strength for this game after they were missing a number of players last week. When the tall timber of Emma Barrie also returns, Sirens could absolutely cause an upset. 

Mary Cholhok is just TOO good, and the reigning champions are a well oiled machine with strength and depth in all areas, so we’re predicting Lightning to win by 7. 

London Pulse v Celtic Dragons (Saturday, 2pm)

Pulse would be wise not to underestimate Dragons this week.

Coming off of a narrow loss to Leeds Rhinos in Round 4, Dannii Titmuss-Morris’ side will be itching to take their first win of the season.

Nia Jones and Dragons are chasing a first win of the season (Image: Morgan Harlow)

Nia Jones and Dragons are chasing a first win of the season (Image: Morgan Harlow)

 

This game could easily become a ‘Clash of the Coaches’ with Titmuss-Morris having left the hustle and bustle of London for the hills and valleys of Wales this season.

Each coach will know the way the other thinks, so grab the popcorn and settle down for a tactical battle.

Based on current form, Pulse certainly have the edge – particularly given that Funmi Fadoju can hunt for ball all day long and they have a plethora of options they can explore in defence.

We’re itching to see the match up between Shaquanda Greene-Noel and Olivia Tchine – the tenacity of Greene-Noel versus the cool-headedness of Tchine… Nando’s spice rating: Extra hot.

The young London side have a fire in their bellies this season, and we reckon Pulse to win by 12.

Saracens Mavericks v Manchester Thunder (Saturday, 4pm)

The top of the table clash. This is a big one.

This matchup is honestly anyone’s game. We know Thunder can put up big numbers having scored over 70 goals every game this season, however Ine-Mari Venter isn’t second in the league for goals scored for no reason. 

Bragging rights – and top spot on the table – will be on the line in this game. We discussed on the podcast this week how Mavs have been sloppy with their final quarters so far this season, an area Thunder will happily exploit. 

Neither side have played anyone else within the top 4 as it currently stands and it will be really interesting to see what they both look like under this increased pressure.

Thunder have the experienced head of starting England WA Nat Metcalf, and a star studded line-up from front to back.

Mavericks in previous years have crumbled in the crunch moments, but some of the skill and flair they’ve produced this season has been simply astonishing. This one will go down to the wire. After much deliberation, we’re rolling the dice and going with Thunder by 2. 

Severn Stars v Team Bath (Saturday, 6pm)

Three words for this one: Cat is back!

Former Silver Fern and notorious netball wizard Cat Tuivaiti revealed last weekend she is aiming to be back for this match, and what a team to come up against on your return to the VNSL!

Stars have struggled to find consistency so far this season, and will face a wounded Bath side who desperately need a confidence boost after losing two games early in their campaign.

With the big guns of Tuivaiti and Liana Leota in attack and mid-court respectively, Stars need someone in their defensive end to really stamp their authority on court – particularly as they’ll be up against twinkle-toed queen Kim Borger. 

With the return of Tuivaiti we think this one will be closer than Bath would like, but Bath will win by 10.

Surrey Storm v Leeds Rhinos (Saturday 6pm)

Watch on Sky Sports YouTube channel here

We’re going to be keeping a very close eye on this one.

Storm surprised Bath last weekend, then went down heavily to Lightning two days later. They’ll be keen to prove that the Bath win wasn’t a fluke, and that they can maintain their strong performance in front of a home crowd.

It’s hard to look past Rhea Dixon for Rhinos. The way she can carve up a defensive end and the blossoming connection with Amy Clinton will give the Storm defenders a lot to think about. Up the other end, Tuaine Keenan is in for a tough day at the office up against the goal-scoring machine that is Proscovia Peace. 

We think this battle will be won in the midcourt.

If Mikki Austin can continue to feed Peace with the speed and accuracy she did last week then Storm may have the edge, but she will have to put out a stellar performance with the GOAT Jade Clarke as her opponent.

This might be a controversial one, but we’re going all in and saying Storm by 5. 

Manchester Thunder v Wasps Netball (5.30pm)

Watch on Sky Sports Mix, Main Event and Arena on Monday night from 5pm

It’s a doubleheader for Thunder this weekend who will face a fresh Wasps side on Monday night.

As we predicted in our pre-season episode, Wasps have struggled this year. The recruitment of more local players by Mel Mansfield was understandable, but they seem to be lacking a certain spark and the ability to close out games, having only won once so far this year.

Thunder on the other hand: if they beat Mavs they’ll be overjoyed and will likely come away with the win, and if they lose to Mavs they’ll be out for blood and will likely come away with the win.

We’re predicting Thunder by 18. 

The story so far….

If you thought the Superleague standings was tight, there’s nothing between our Vitality Netball Superleague predictions contenders so far, with consistency across the board.

Iwan Thomas – 29 points (6 games)

Tamsin Greenway – 27 points (5 games)

Chloe Merrell (The Guardian & The Netball Show – 27 points (6 games)

A reminder of the points system

3 points for the correct outcome

5 bonus points if score prediction is correct

3 bonus points if score prediction is within 1-3 goals

2 bonus points if score prediction is within 4-9 goals

1 bonus point if score prediction is within 10-15 goals

Make sure you’re following @NetballSL on Twitter and Instagram auto stay up to date with the weekend’s action, while our new YouTube channel is the place to go for highlights if you miss anything.

Previous Story Netball is Home: Surrey Storm’s Proscovia Peace on her inspirational journey to Vitality Netball Superleague
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